I recently got a chance to play the the Sony a7 (Alpha 7) Mirror-less Interchangeable Lens Camera and here are my quick thoughts on it.


Right before Christmas I met with my good friend Jimmy Allen and talked about a mirror-less cameras, he was thinking of getting one for his lovely wife Linda. With some quick research we narrowed down the choice to the Sony a7. Still being a fairly new camera, the reviews were good and the specs on the camera were very interesting being a 24.3MP effective 35mm full-frame sensor. So that was the camera that Jimmy decided to get.


After the Holidays being the fine outstanding gentlemen that me and Jimmy are, we volunteered our services to take Linda’s new Sony a7 out for a quick test drive, we wanted to make sure Linda would be happy with it! 🙂


Jimmy swung by on a hazy afternoon and picked me up in Tulare and we headed out to the country between the Tulare-Visalia area. We’ve been in a serious drought here in California, so the sky that day was bland and hazy, not an ideal situation but we made the best of it. We made our first stop when we came across an interesting mail box, it was sitting on that old rusty piece of farming equipment. The Sony a7 was equipped with the FE 28-70mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS Lens that comes with the kit. My first impression was the weight of the camera with the lens, it felt nice in my hands and light! I really enjoyed moving around and shooting with the a7 and with no mirror moving around in the camera the images were coming out sharp. I normally take a tripod with me when I go out to shoot to get sharp images, I’ve been hindered by a pinch nerve on my lower neck upper back area and when it flares up, in the past I had problems getting sharp images with my Nikon DSLR with the battery grip and big lens without using a tripod.


The one thing that took some getting use to was the OLED electronic viewfinder, after using DSLRs and 35mm SLR cameras for over 20 years now, it was quite different looking through that electronic viewfinder. After a few shots I adapted to it and also to the way it auto focused. After getting my feet wet with the mail box, we moved on to another area that was close by where Jimmy knew of on old barn that was falling apart.


When we arrived at the barn, we parked across the road and the first thing I noticed there was a Coors Light bottle just sitting there on a fence post, so I took some quick shots of it, by the looks it had been there for quite a while. Then Jimmy called me over to next post just to the right of where the beer bottle was and sitting on top of that post was some kind of crystal rock just sitting there undisturbed, quite odd but I took a couple of shots of it to. It couldn’t tell if it was some kind of shrine or weird ritual spot but I thought to myself who ever left the beer bottle there could of least had left a full bootle of beer for me!


I then crossed the road and photographed the barn, I was really surprised how I was enjoying shooting with the a7, I couldn’t tell if it was just because of it was a new or if it was all the news I’ve been reading on mirror-less cameras but I had so much fun using the a7! Another thing I noticed about the a7 was how it handled the tricky lighting situation of the barn. I was on the side of the barn that was in shade and the sun light that was coming through what was left of the roof was quite harsh, also inside the window it was dark. When I brought the RAW file into Lightroom I was surprised on the detail in both the light and dark areas, I did not do any dodge or burning to the image, it’s pretty much what came out of the camera other than me turning it into B&W and just slightly boosting the shadow areas with curves.


Jimmy had also purchased the adapter for the Sony a7 that will let you use Nikon lenses on it. I mounted my NIKKOR 50mm f/1.2 AIS manual focus lens to test it real quick and was surprised on how accurate the exposer was on the images, by this time we were running out of time but hopefully in the future Linda will let me Jimmy test the Sony a7 again and I can try some of my other Nikkor lenses on it.


Over all my first impression of the Sony a7 is quite positive. I liked the quality of the camera, it felt nice and well built,  it was easy to figure out some of the functions, pretty much straight forward on how it operates. I shot both in JPG and RAW modes and the images looked great. So hopefully in the future I’ll test it in a studio setting.